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Possible Violation of Federal Law Charged by FBI Whistleblower

Today, Sibel Edmonds, Former FBI Language Specialist and a whistleblower, filed a motion in D.C. Federal Court asking for recusal of Judge Reggie Walton from her pending case filed under the Federal Tort Claim Act. Walton is also currently hearing the perjury case involving I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, who is suspected of leaking the name of former CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame Wilson to the media.  

Edmonds motion for recusal is based on Judge Walton's pursuit of secrecy in his required yearly financial disclosure by redacting his entire disclosure statement, his deference to secrecy in his rulings on Edmonds' previous claims where he was the presiding judge, and the unusual operations of the case assignment system concerning Edmonds' cases. For the recusal motion filed by Edmonds Click Here

The redaction of Judge Reggie Walton's entire Financial Disclosure Statement appears to be in violation of the Ethics in Government Act. The Ethics in Government Act requires that Federal Judges file a yearly financial disclosure statement with the U.S. Judicial Conference as a check on conflicts of interest. A disclosure may be redacted only to the extent necessary to protect the individual who filed the report and for as long as the danger to such individual exists. The Financial Disclosure Statement filed by Judge Reggie Walton in 2003 redacts all information except for the date of the filing and Walton's name. This is highly unusual.  According to a recent GAO Report, less than one percent of judges on average request complete redaction of their financial disclosure each year. For Judge Reggie Walton's 2003 Financial Disclosure, Click Here. For the request letter sent to the U.S. Judicial Conference on March 6, 2006, asking for the release of Judge Walton's unredacted financial disclosure statement Click Here.

In July 2004, Judge Reggie Walton disposed of Edmonds' First Amendment case on the basis of the government's assertion of State Secrets Privilege. On the same day as the decision, Judge Walton quashed a subpoena for Edmonds' deposition by attorneys representing over 1,000 family members who lost love ones during the terrorist attacks on 9/11. In limiting the deposition in the case, Burnett et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., Judge Walton prevented the 9/11 attorneys from asking a majority of the proposed questions related to the attacks.  These included even the most mundane questions, such as:

  •           When & where were you born?

  •           Where did you go to school?

  •           What languages do you speak?

  •           What did you focus your studies on in school?

  •           In what capacity have you been employed by the United States Government?

The convoluted route the Edmonds' case has taken to Judge Reggie Walton's courtroom appears suspicious and creates the perception that the system has been manipulated. Edmonds' First Amendment case, filed in July 2002, was assigned to Judge James Robertson who recently resigned from the FISA Court in protest of warrantless NSA eavesdropping. In February 2003, Edmonds' case was removed from Judge Robertson and reassigned to Judge Walton with no explanation provided. Edmonds filed a motion to request the case to be transferred from Judge Walton, and be assigned to Judge Ellen Huvelle who had been presiding over Edmonds' related FOIA case since July 2002. The court granted Edmonds' request and transferred her case to Judge Huvelle. However, two days later, Edmonds' case was removed from Judge Huvelle and reassigned to Judge Walton with no further information or reason provided. On July 6, 2004, Judge Walton granted the government's motion to dismiss based on the assertion of the State Secrets Privilege.

In March 2005, Edmonds filed in D.C. Federal Court a separate claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and the case was randomly assigned to Judge James Robertson. However, five days later, Edmonds' claim was removed from Judge Robertson and reassigned to Judge Reggie Walton. This set of facts reveals apparent violations of local rules governing the assignment of cases.

Sibel Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI's Washington Field Office. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her issues have been blocked by the assertion of "State Secret Privilege" and the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice.

In January 2005, the Justice Department's Inspector General vindicated Edmonds' claims when it declared that many of her charges "were supported by other witnesses and documents,  and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI's decision to terminate her services."

Judge Reggie Walton was nominated to his position as a United States District Court of Columbia Judge in October 2001 by President George W. Bush. He served as President George H. W. Bush's Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Executive Office of the President and as President Bush's Senior White House advisor for Crime.

Contact for Commentary: Professor William Weaver, wweaver@nswbc.org , (915.525.0483(M); 505.216.9853(H))

Originally posted to David Swanson on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:08 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm gonna recommend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roses, DrewDown

    and scratch my head until I can grok this. Too much.

    You didn't do it.

    by Earl on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:09:10 PM PST

    •  I don't even know where to start... (3+ / 0-)

      How often to cases get re-assigned?  How often do seperate cases get continuously re-assigned to the same judge?

      This stinks of internal judge-shopping by the government.

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:01:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

        The only thing to work with right now, though, is the disclosure reports. I don't see how she can't win on that.

        You didn't do it.

        by Earl on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:15:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Disclosure reports? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buckhorn okie

          This is one arm of the government scratching another arm of the government's back. If he's got something to hide, this is the Administration that will keep it hidden. Probably because this Administration had something to do with it needing to be hidden in the first place.  

          I swear that their plan is to scandolously bribe and connive as many crooked people into power as possible, to make it all the much harder to track them down after they leave office.

          I sometimes wonder if there are enough Fitzgeralds in this fight to balance out all the Waltons.  

      •  Tom Delay got his judge changed... (0+ / 0-)

        ...on the grounds that he'd made contribution(s?) to Democratic candidates.  Actually, a disturbing and potentially dangerous precedent to my thinking.

        In this local area, you get to pre-empt one judge without giving cause.  It's not at all uncommon that history between judges and attorneys (e.g. former law partners) is grounds for getting a new judge.

        My impression - based on very limited experience - is that recusal of judges is not at all uncommon.  One of the (many) creepy things about Scalia is that he didn't recuse himself from the Cheney/Energy Task Force case, despite having socialized with Cheney (another one of those Texas hunting trips, if I recall correctly).

    •  recommend (0+ / 0-)

      even though this is nearly identical to the raw story article?

      I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

      by Tamifah on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 04:42:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah i reread (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Earl

        the rawstory article here

        this really looks like plagiarism to me

        I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

        by Tamifah on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 04:44:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's wrong with that? (0+ / 0-)

          The blogs are about networking

          You didn't do it.

          by Earl on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 04:59:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't get you.

          The FAQ has the rules, STRONGLY PUT, about reposting entire or major portions of articles. It is against copywrite law.

          You didn't do it.

          by Earl on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 05:01:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Plagiarism resources (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe

            Plagiarism is mentioned in the DKOS faq

            also this copyright notice appears at the bottom of each raw story page:

            Copyright © 2006 Raw Story Media, Inc. - All rights reserved.

            also here is the wikipedia page on plagiarism

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            Don't get me wrong this topic is extremely important and needs to be discussed by David Swanson passing this off as his own writing and getting a butload of recommends and tips for it is wrong.

            I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

            by Tamifah on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 05:04:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is a press release. (0+ / 0-)

              Look at the bottom where it says:

              "Contact Information"  That is typical of a press release.

              •  what bothers me (0+ / 0-)
                1. this is a press release that comes across as his own writing until you read the very last sentence
                1. It's nearly identical to the raw story article i've linked
                1. The FAQ says we're not supposed to cut and paste entire articles, but press releases is ok?

                I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

                by Tamifah on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 05:17:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes - press releases are okay. (3+ / 0-)

                  Press Releases are meant to be copied in whole or in part - they are put out to generate the story the publisher wants to tell and it is desired that they are not edited because the writer's perspective is kept in tact.

                  I could not file it on the website, but the gentelman cited as the contact is at the National Security Whistle Blowers Coalition an org working on trying to strenghthen wistleblower protection.

                  It is more likely that Raw Story copied it almost in its entirety with the exception of a few changes in the verbage and David Swanson posted the press release.  I believe he is the co-founder of afterdowningstreet.org

                  Here are his other creds:

                  Co-Founder of www.afterdowningstreet.org, Washington Director of www.Democrats.com, board member of www.pdamerica.org.

                  Maybe you should email him requesting a citation rather than accusing him of plagiarism.

        •  Wait (0+ / 0-)

          You're confusing me. It doesn't seem to be exact.  ??

          You didn't do it.

          by Earl on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 05:06:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  press release (0+ / 0-)

          it's a press release from sibel

          david just posted it.

          he didnt intend to pass it off as his own work

  •  Grok is right (4+ / 0-)

    So, Sibel Edmonds's case keeps getting plunked back to Judge Walton, who is also the judge in Plamegate?

    IIRC, Ms. Edmonds posts here from time to time. Is there somone who can ask her directly about this Matrix-like set of circumstances?

    Talk doesn't cook rice -- Chinese Proverb
    Lingua Politica

    by OldYellerDog on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:27:42 PM PST

  •  The federal Imperial Judiciary (5+ / 0-)

    has been breaking the proceedural rules to aid the Feds cases for a while now, and not just in DC.  Jury panels have been fixed, jurors not on panels placed there at the last minute, and government witnesses have, at least in one case, been assigned to guard the jury in the case they were witnesses.  In addition, trials are now often open only to a "select" public, and secrecy, the hallmark of the Star Chamber and the inqisition is on the rise in federal courts.  In addition, federal judges feel free to ignore accepted trial rules, comment to juries in the guise of ruling on motions and otherwise interfering in the presentation of cases to juries.

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:33:55 PM PST

  •  The federal Imperial Judiciary (0+ / 0-)

    has been breaking the proceedural rules to aid the Feds cases for a while now, and not just in DC.  Jury panels have been fixed, jurors not on panels placed there at the last minute, and government witnesses have, at least in one case, been assigned to guard the jury in the case they were witnesses.  In addition, trials are now often open only to a "select" public, and secrecy, the hallmark of the Star Chamber and the inqisition is on the rise in federal courts.  In addition, federal judges feel free to ignore accepted trial rules, comment to juries in the guise of ruling on motions and otherwise interfering in the presentation of cases to juries.

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:33:55 PM PST

  •  The federal Imperial Judiciary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy

    has been breaking the proceedural rules to aid the Feds cases for a while now, and not just in DC.  Jury panels have been fixed, jurors not on panels placed there at the last minute, and government witnesses have, at least in one case, been assigned to guard the jury in the case they were witnesses.  In addition, trials are now often open only to a "select" public, and secrecy, the hallmark of the Star Chamber and the inqisition is on the rise in federal courts.  In addition, federal judges feel free to ignore accepted trial rules, comment to juries in the guise of ruling on motions and otherwise interfering in the presentation of cases to juries.

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:33:55 PM PST

  •  The federal Imperial Judiciary (0+ / 0-)

    has been breaking the proceedural rules to aid the Feds cases for a while now, and not just in DC.  Jury panels have been fixed, jurors not on panels placed there at the last minute, and government witnesses have, at least in one case, been assigned to guard the jury in the case they were witnesses.  In addition, trials are now often open only to a "select" public, and secrecy, the hallmark of the Star Chamber and the inqisition is on the rise in federal courts.  In addition, federal judges feel free to ignore accepted trial rules, comment to juries in the guise of ruling on motions and otherwise interfering in the presentation of cases to juries.

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:33:57 PM PST

  •  sorry, (0+ / 0-)

    I was typing another paragraph, and must have hit the wrong key.  any way to delete the extra posts?

    Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

    by StrayCat on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 02:40:26 PM PST

  •  Throw the Books at Them (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, BenGoshi, macdust, Skid

    Every elected official should be audited every two years until they die. And public disclosures like the one Walton is refusing should be cross-referenced by the audit under penalty of making false statements, at the very least. Any violation of these rules should be impeached, convicted, and double penalties applied for violating the public trust they swore to protect.

  •  The judge shopping (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, macdust, Ellicatt

    would tend to implicate Gonzo, no? And by extension, Cheney.

    Cute.

  •  Judge Scofflaw (4+ / 0-)

    From the 2006 PDF:

    Finally, and most notable, it is difficult to have faith in a judge who appears to be a scofflaw.

    You can say that again. Yikes, Fitz has his work cut out for him. If Cheney is pulling the strings, we're all fucked.

  •  What the hell? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    macdust, buckhorn okie, kurt

    This appears to be a grave, new way to manipulate and corrupt the justice system that I haven't heard of before. Stacking the courts with right-wing ideologues, breaking laws, violating the 4th Amendment, etc. - outrageous, but in a familiar way. The kind of jurisdictional funny business you describe here is something else altogether. Is this just normal stuff that I'm unfamiliar with because I'm not an attorney?

    Judge Reggie Walton warrants more investigation, but I'm more concerned about who's manipulating the system, and how, to make sure that particular cases go to his court.

  •  I have to admit I'm not following... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    macdust

    Why would judges need to redact a financial statement in order to 'protect' anyone?  Do they mean the judge when they say 'the individual who filed the report' or is this portion an investigation to see if the submitted report is true?

    •  'Activist judges' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joejoejoe

      You know, like O'Connor or Ginsberg?  They might want to redact certain aspects of their financial statements if they think it might protect their lives to do so.

      It's kind of like doctors who provide abortion services, but different.

      Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

      by Phoenix Rising on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:08:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Skid

      What if ti says, for an obvious example, that they were given $10 gazion dollars by halliburton for an afternoon's worth of consulation. You get it?

      You didn't do it.

      by Earl on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:23:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's Why (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      The rationale for redaction of the financial disclosure forms of federal district court judges (like Judge Walton) is that they try a lot of criminal cases and often deal with people who are a little unbalanced.  Some of the information that is redacted includes home addresses and telephone numbers that could be used to attack a judge (like Judge Lefkow's family in Chicago).  Memberships might indicate where a judge golfed, his or her children attended school, or a variety of other facts that could aid in an attack.

      Also, unscrupulous people could file liens against property owned by the judge.

      Most federal district court judges also keep conflict lists that are available from their offices, but you must look at these in person.  Also, procedures generally are in place so judges disqualify themselves if they have financial intersts in conflict with a party.  

      •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

        Your examples makes sense and explains why it would be unusual to redact the entire document -- it is difficult to imagine that every single client or expenditure is a legitimate security risk.

        •  I Think There Are Abuses (0+ / 0-)

          I do believe that the redaction of financial disclosure forms by U. S. district court judges is being abused by some judges.  I am aware of a case involving a federal district court judge in Delaware who was engaged in real estate partnerships with an individual who had been the chief of the New Castle County, Delaware police and later the county executive.  The judge's son also acted as counsel for the individual.  The judge did disqualify himself from hearing a criminal case against the individual (and all of the other Delaware district court judges decided not to handle the case either, resulting in its transfer to federal district court in Philadelphia).

          The case involved allegedly untrue statements made by the individual in conjunction with loans from banks against real estate owned by the individual (specifically whether funds received from a member of the DuPont family were a gift).

  •  America was established as a nation of laws (6+ / 0-)

    that exist independent of any men. What the Republicans want to establish is a cabal of men independent of any laws. The nation itself is only a cloak for them to wear, to bleed, to use for all the “brand equity” earned over 200 years of blood, sweat and tears. They are like "the Thing" - an alien beast taking the form of its host. Using that familiar form to lower the defenses of its unsuspecting prey, before lashing out and consuming them. The Republicans are a metastisizing cancer on America eating away at the flesh of our Constitution and we need some very aggressive chemotherapy to save it.

    So the question then is, at what point is fighting to save your country from a domestic enemy not sedition?    

    I think, therefore I am NOT A REPUBLICAN!!!

    by Reality Bites Back on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:19:07 PM PST

    •  It occurs to me that the money people... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reality Bites Back

      ...are much more willing to make political contributions to Republicans than they are to pay taxes to the government.  Obviously, it does pay off in the end - the old "legalized bribery" saw.

      But it also occurs to me that there's some attempt to replace the rule of the country by the government with rule of the country by the Republican party.  Eliminate much of the government (particularly "entitlements" - social services), while at the same time growing the Republican party.

      •  Which is why I always ask - are you a Republican (0+ / 0-)

        OR an American? - you can't be both.

        Anything you use the word "liberal" just replace with "American". I'm an American activist. I believe in American causes. I support an American agenda.

        It is exactly as you say - America versus Republican. The United States Constitution v. the Republican Party.

        They are diametrically opposed and enemies of each other and only one can rule over the people of America.

        I think, therefore I am NOT A REPUBLICAN!!!

        by Reality Bites Back on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:08:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And with regard to your money point - isn't it (0+ / 0-)

          amazing how Republicans have no problems paying a $30,000 fee to be part of some country club, while they bitch and moan about paying that for the upkeep of their country.

          Just pathetic. Greed to the point that they deserve whatever the boiling, rotting depths of hell misery they are dolled in life.

          I think, therefore I am NOT A REPUBLICAN!!!

          by Reality Bites Back on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 02:12:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Why are the two cases related in your mind? (0+ / 0-)

    What do the Libby and Sibel Edmonds case have in common besides jurisdiction? And the motion you link to does not say Judge Walton should be removed because of a redacted financial disclosure, but a "penchant for secrecy". Is Judge Walton's "penchant for secrecy" in failing to share documents in rejecting motions by the Libby defense team also suspicious? I'd imagine Judge Walton is more secretive because he deals with

    I think this is a whole lot of nothing. Judge Walton was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan, as was Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy. Are they right-wing appartchiks as well?

    Here's the official bio of Judge Walton and a recent NYT profile. ReddHedd has more info on Judge Walton's rulings in the FDL archive. He seems sound to me.

    Ned Lamont for Senate "Baby, I say it's high time we rock the boat."

    by joejoejoe on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 03:31:27 PM PST

  •  Goodness gracious! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, awakenow
    Googling Judge Walton immediately leads to some very interesting stuff:


    Stacking the Deck to Save the Administration

    Plame, Pakistan, a Nuclear Turkey, and the Neocons

    Also:  Interesting bios here at dkos; and here about the judge's early days as a young thug.

    Gosh, I wish I had more time!  Who knows what a more thorough search, ie with Nexis/Lexis, might turn up ...

  •  good diary and remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, retLT

    that Libby is charged with lying, not leaking the name.  It is important that we don't repeat what the right wing and Libby want us to beleive...that the charges are he leaked the name.  This allows them to spin the defense as "see, everyone knew it", or "I was too busy with other matters.."  Thanks.

    sign the petition at http://www.impeachbush.org

    by DrKate on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 04:29:08 PM PST

  •  Plagiarism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarkInSanFran, Prison4Bushco, Sanuk

    This diary is plagiarism of the raw story article found here

    Please give raw story credit for this article and remove enough of it to fall within fair use.

    The topic is important and everyone needs to know about it, but stealing content is wrong.

    I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

    by Tamifah on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 04:46:29 PM PST

  •  Diarist, (0+ / 0-)

    This would be easily fixed with proper attribution.

    I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt regarding intentions, but Tamifah has a good point here...

  •  I may not be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tamifah

    giving THe Marquis Who's Who enough credit, but I don't think it would be the first thing I would cite on my list of numerous awards and honors.

    Is not this extreme secrecy the bookend of illegal spying? It is often argued that if you have nothing to hide, then you should be concerned about the spying. Likewise, if you have nothing to hide, then you ought to be able to keep your life private.

  •  Good god (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jules Beaujolais

    this is a press release that someone asked me to post here

    i didn't write a word of it or intend to suggest i did

    http://www.davidswanson.org

    by David Swanson on Wed Mar 22, 2006 at 06:58:19 PM PST

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